Backup/image tool for pfSense 2.4.2 (SOLVED)



  • Before pfSense 2.4.2 , you could use Win32 Disk Imager to make a backup/image a CF card, SSD or mSata ,
    but since version 2.4.2 use GPT partitions, Win32 Disk Imager doesn't recognize this filesystem.

    I have tried already Easy Todo Backup,  Acronis Backup (with sector by sector backup).
    It shows image completed 100%, but when i use these images on another SSD or mSata,
    they won't boot.
    With Win32 Disk Imager you could place the image to a identical medium of same size or bigger with no problem.

    So my question is, is there a tool like Win32 Disk Imager for Windows, that works properly with pfSense 2.4.2 ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards
    DeLorean


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    what exactly would be the point of this?  Why would you not have a image you downloaded from pfsense for the specific version your running, and a backup copy of your config.  What data are you trying to save with the image?  Like your proxy cache or something?

    In case of failure you just reimage from the pfsense image and restore your backup.

    Love to help - just trying to understand the use case of doing such a thing.



  • The main goal is to save the complete pfSense install + packages + settings to a .img file (or other file extention) ,
    so that the complete install can be duplicated to a spare storage medium (CF, SSD , HDD or mSata) for in case
    of non-booting, dead medium, problems after upgrades etc….

    i'm aware of the option config saving, but this doesn't save always all installed packages.

    Thank you for the quick reply.

    Best regards
    DeLorean


  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    hmmm… Very valid use case..

    So when you tested this todo backup.. You meant EaseUS todo backup or some other "easy" todo backup?  Did you pick the optimize for ssd option.. Since it sounds like you were doing this test with a SSD.



  • There are many utilities that can save a disk image.  You can even boot Linux from a USB drive/CD/DVD and use dd to back up the entire partition.  I expect you could do the same with one of the *BSDs.  You don't need a tool specific to pfSense.



  • @johnpoz:

    hmmm… Very valid use case..

    So when you tested this todo backup.. You meant EaseUS todo backup or some other "easy" todo backup?  Did you pick the optimize for ssd option.. Since it sounds like you were doing this test with a SSD.

    Sorry, my mistake.
    I did meant EaseUS Todo Backup :-)
    I didn't tried a SSD yet, i'm still stuck imaging a CF card with a full pfSense 2.4.2 install.

    @JKnott:

    There are many utilities that can save a disk image.  You can even boot Linux from a USB drive/CD/DVD and use dd to back up the entire partition.  I expect you could do the same with one of the *BSDs.  You don't need a tool specific to pfSense.

    I'm aware of those disk image utilities and boot possibilities,
    Acronis can also be used for this purpose.(i use Acronis for almost 10 years)
    I'm a IT Technician for more then 14 years and maintain different pfSense systems,
    booting "offline" with a usb drive doesn't always work on all systems.
    So i like to prefer to use a tool like Win32 Disk Imager like i did before.
    Untill version 2.4.2 was released,i made a image of a CF card to a .IMG file,
    and in case of malfunction, or odd problem, i could simple placed back the image,
    or choose a image of a previous (older) pfSense version.
    This method did always what i wanted.

    Since pfSense version 2.4.2 i noticed that the medium is no more detected by Win32 Disk Imager,
    because this pfSense use the GPT partition layout.
    With previous pfSense versions, this was the wellknown MBR partition layout.

    Thank you for the replies.

    Best regards
    DeLorean



  • Personally I use a freebsd usb stick that I have set up that i can boot into and then create an image using dd. The only trick was to set up the serialconsole settings correctly.

    I also have a ubuntu PC which was an old windows dektop and has SD, CF and usb ports etc, in the past i have just used that machine for taking images of cards.

    Have moved to the usb stick due to that fact that there are more and more SoC routers with onboard memory.



  • UPDATE

    The major problem was that my Windows 7 pc that i always use for the imaging,
    wouldn't let my assign a driveletter to the CF card.
    Also not with 3th party disk managing tools like Acronis Disk Director Suite, AOMEI Partition Assistant etc…
    Without a driveletter Win32 Disk Imager won't recognize the CF card, so no imaging.

    When i plugged the USB to CF cardreader in a pc with XP,
    it ask immediately if i wanted to format the CF card, after ignoring this,
    i saw that the CF card automatic received a driveletter.
    After that, i made a succesfully image with Win32 Disk Imager.  ;D

    Thanks to everyone for the tips and suggestions.

    Best regards
    DeLorean



  • Just wanted to share how I imaged my pfsense install. I tried to use Macrinum reflect's clone disk feature, but my drives are GPT. I was not able to boot on the new ssd.

    So what I did was I installed pfsense to the new ssd, then in Macrinum reflect, I copied the last two partitions to the new disk, from the old disk. You want to replace the last two partitions.

    Now the new SSD boots fine and it has the exact same old data.

    Here's a picture if it helps:
    alt text



  • For x86/64 based systems with a monitor I’ve mostly been successful using gparted (CD or USB) and the dd command.
    More recently I have been using pfSense VM’s on ESXi (Free). With Nakivo Backup (Free) you can backup 2 VM’s straight onto a Synology NAS (intel CPU only).
    With open-vm-tools running inside the pfsense VM i can do automated full backups every night without the need to shut down . Since the backups are snapshot based they only take a few seconds. (The first backup takes a few minutes). Restores only take a few minutes, too and you can select a different Esxi host as target.
    For the backups to work (esxi snapshots) you won’t be able to pass through phyisical NICs via vt-d, however i couldnt notice any performance impact using vmxnet3 adapters...


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